Where Mayors Want to Spend Federal Aid

An annual survey reveals that mayors want to prioritize spending federal funding on homelessness, transportation, and social services.

2 minute read

December 6, 2021, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

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Arina P Habich / Shutterstock

Mayors around the country are prioritizing homelessness and transportation as top needs that could be addressed by new federal funding, according to the annual Menino Survey of Mayors. The survey interviewed 126 mayors on issues related to COVID-19 responses, housing, and inequality and how they collaborate with the federal government to meet these challenges.

As Bill Lucia reports, when asked where they might spend their American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars, "21% of respondents said addressing homelessness, 18% transportation infrastructure, 15% social services, 15% housing and 13% answered either small business, municipal facilities, equity focused programs or broadband." A large majority of mayors believed ARPA funding could make a major difference for their cities.

According to survey results, less than a quarter of cities collect race and ethnicity data when planning climate resilience projects. Meanwhile, 75 percent of cities collect race and ethnicity data when documenting arrests. "Just over half of the mayors said that federal data reporting requirements are either 'very' or 'extremely' important for driving the race and ethnicity data that their cities collect," pointing to a need for more stringent federal regulations regarding data collection. 

The report on the survey's finding concludes that, while the pandemic has had transformative effects on communities, mayors and city officials have developed innovative solutions that hold valuable lessons for policymakers at the state and federal levels.

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